The main reason why the worker node implements a queue of tasks is of course because re-compressing video from one format to another tends to be a very time consuming process. You define the compression you require in the movie conversion editor.

First, you specify the destination for the converted movie. If you are creating CatDV previews then these are named automatically (based on the tape name and timecode value of the clip for tape-based previews, and based on the relative path from the root for path-based previews) and all you need to do is specify the CatDV preview root directory. Otherwise, you can specify any output directory you want and how you want the output file name to be derived given the input filename.

Then you specify the movie format itself by creating a new movie conversion preset or selecting one you defined earlier. A conversion preset can be used by several different task definitions to ensure they all create movies in a consistent format.

When defining a movie conversion preset you need to specify the exporter (such as QuickTime movie, MPEG-4, AVI etc.) and settings particular to that exporter, as well as general options such as the frame size and whether to add burnt in text such as a copyright message. You can either choose the exporter and customise the setting yourself or use one of the built-in settings. The original CatDV preview presets are available, optimised for different factors like speed of compression, but note that these are designed for very small file sizes and generally implement low frame rates of 8 or 12 fps so the OfflineRT, MPEG4 (Quality) and MPEG4 (Normal) settings are normally preferable. Or you can fully customise the movie export setting, using any QuickTime exporter, codec, frame rate and quality settings.

You can resample the movie to a smaller frame size by entering the desired bounds and whether to preserve the original aspect ratio by making the movie smaller than those bounds. If you leave these boxes blank it will use the original movie size (for “exported” movies) or assume the preferred size of 320×240 for CatDV previews. If you are creating a QuickTime .mov file the worker node will automatically add a QuickTime timecode track, which you can make visible or not as required.

After defining the compression settings you should enter a short descriptive name and save it as a conversion preset so you can reuse it when defining other watch actions.

As well as using the default QuickTime exporter you can also use the Xuggle exporter (if installed) and the DSJ DirectShow exporter (when running under Windows). Different exporters will have different capabilities and support different codecs but the basic approach for configuring them is the same in each case.